The second instalment of the much-hyped horror film follows the story of Katie’s [Featherston] sister Kristi [Grayden] and her experiences of demon harassment. Cue the home-shot video footage in the middle of the night to keep the audience squirming in their seats…
The second film cashes in on the hysteria created by the first films’ surprising success with the same formula and storyline, [a family get disturbed at night by an evil presence caught on camera], but this time the demon’s focus appears to be on Kristi’s infant son. It is cleverly set before the first film, with Katie [who we last saw as dead or possessed -depending on which ending you preferred] turning up in the film periodically to visit her sister. This is a nice idea as it is gives the audience knowledge about events still to come and reminds them of the link mentioned in the first film that both sisters were terrorised as children.
After Kristi’s family home is apparently vandalised, her husband Dan [Bowland] installs security cameras around the house. This gives the audience multiple angles of the house to watch while shrinking into their seats. Although we have been here before, this is still an effective scary film that had me watching through my fingers at times. Ok, a lot of the time. I defy a viewer not to jump out of their seat at a certain kitchen scene where there is an agonising wait for something inevitably shocking to happen. As with the first film, the suspense is unbearable, particularly when time is ‘fast-forwarded’ and then stopped in the middle of the night where you are left to scrutinise static shots of suspicious looking wardrobes / shadows. The suspense created is often worse than what the demon does but the film uses the different security camera screens brilliantly to show multiple angles of the house.
The focus on the baby is chilling, and look out for the baby-sitting scene where Ali [Ephraim] gets locked out of the house leaving the demon alone with the baby. However, the film at times tried too hard to scare;. A scene involving the baby being dragged out of his cot by an invisible presence is clearly supposed to be horrifying, but had the audience roaring with laughter. Scenes like this could also leave viewers wondering, ‘If the demon wants the child so much, and has the power to move/possess people, then why doesn’t it just take him whenever it wants?’ But then there wouldn’t be a film so we must ignore these plot-holes!
The ending is good and surprising, which was unexpected given that this is a sequel. It links with the footage from the beginning of Paranormal Activity showing how Katie’s haunting happened directly after this one. The scene where a possessed / bloody Katie [which leads directly on from the ending of the first film] appears in the background of a shot of Dan watching T.V in his house is truly frightening to watch. The audience were suddenly impressed again at this point.
The reaction in the cinema was verging on hysterical, and the screeching and the jumping was often followed by nervous laughter from all the men. If you enjoyed being traumatised by Paranormal Activity, then Paranormal Activity 2 is a must-see for all horror fans who don’t mind sleeping with the lights on for a week after viewing.
By: Alice Gustafson
Director: Tod Williams
Sprague Grayden: Kristi Rey
Katie Featherston: Katie
Brian Bowland: Dan Rey
Molly Ephraim: Ali Rey
Micha Solat: Micha
For the official site, click here: http://www.paranormal2.co.uk